Vale Gallery

1933 Vale Special

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The Vale Special was designed by Pownoll Pellew, later to become Lord Exmouth, in a workshop that was rented behind the Warrington pub in Maida Vale, North London. After receiving funding from Allan Gaspar and Robert Owen Wilcoxon, the company expanded. After the sudden loss of Pellow and fellow director Robert Wilcoxon in 1933 due to illness and injury, E.A. (Ted) Halford was hired as the senior mechanic. Years later, Ted joined another company, becoming the 'H' in H.R.G.

The vehicles incorporated many novel design features.

The early cars were hand built and based on the Triumph Motor Company components. Production lasted between 1932 and 1935. This early example originally sold for 197 pounds, with an additional cost for the foot pump which inflated the seats.

The car has an underslung chassis which provides a very low build and gives it exceptional cornering abilities. The company demonstrated this feature on many occasions to potential customers using the centrally positioned street lamps in a nearby street as an unofficial slalom course.

Powering the car is an 832cc side valve engine mated to a four-speed gearbox and worm drive back axle. These items were sourced from Triumph. Braking is performed by Lockheed hydraulics and were considered quite advanced during a period when many of their competitors used cable operated brakes. The suspension is comprised of semi-elliptic springs at all four corners. The front axle is of tubular design and since the chassis passes underneath it is not upswept at the ends but leads straight to each stub axle.

The steering box is mounted on top of the front chassis member which is just forward the radiator cowl. The bodywork is made of a light steel framework clad with heavy gauge aluminum paneling with cutaway doors allowing for easy access. Behind the seat back is the space for luggage and the vertically placed elven gallon fuel tank which is housed in the tail section with the spare wheel neatly recessed at the rear. The front cycle-type wings turn with the wheel mirroring the contemporary Aston martin International.

other interesting features to this unique car is the quick release radiator and petrol filler caps, fold flat windscreen, Brooklands steering wheel and pneumatic upholstery.

A well known fact that racing improves the brand and promotes the product, the Vale Company entered factory cars for various Brooklands Time Trials during 1933 lapping consistently at over 70 mph. One owner even entered an example in the 1934 Monte Carlo Rally. The later cars were given the more powerful 1100cc Coventry Climax engine as fitted to the contemporary Morgan though were still fitted with the original Triumph gearbox and rear axle with more suitable ratios.

This particular vehicle was owned by the Vale Motor Company partner, Robert Wilcoxon (also known as Bang Wilcoxon) and was a common site at Brooklands, Donington, and Gosport race tracks.

The current owner purchased this car from an individual in Pennsylvania and had it shipped to the west coast, where it now resides. The owner was also the source of much of this information.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2011

Performance and Specification Comparison

Industry Production

1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)
1937Chevrolet (815,375)Ford (765,933)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Brewster (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Miller (210,824)
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)

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